This past weekend, The Gaslight Anthem took over Manhattan to play three shows for New Yorkers along with a few hardcore fans who traveled from as far away as Italy to spend the weekend with the band. The shows ranged from an outdoor festival vibe on Pier 26 down in Tribeca, to an old school throwback feel at Irving Plaza.
The New Jersey quartet, (singer Brian Fallon, guitarist Alex Rosamilia, bassist Alex Levine, drummer Benny Horowitz along with additional guitarist Ian Perkins) last played NYC in November, with three huge shows at Terminal 5 (read my review here). So putting on a free show at an intimate venue like Irving Plaza was a treat. To gain entry to the concert, which was presented by Red Bull Sound Select, fans had to utilize technology and help promote the show via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag “#SoundSelect”. The fans who most actively promoted were chosen to receive two tickets to the intimate show and were also given a free poster at the end of the night as a souvenir to help commemorate the special event.
The last time the Gaslight Anthem played Irving Plaza was back in 2010, when they had just released their CD American Slang (my review here). Being that the house was purposefully filled up with their biggest super fans, the crowd came ready to party. Fallon lead crowd singalongs to not only his own band’s songs, but to Lady Gaga, Bone Thugs N’ Harmony and Nelly spontaneously. Even though it was a goofy moment and the songs were unrelated to any of the music being played on stage, the crowd-bonding over the random pop tunes put a smile on everyone’s face. The crowd also got amped up when show opener Dave Hause (who played after a set by The Scandals and first act Frances & the Foundation) joined The Gaslight Anthem on stage to help sing the chorus of their 2012 single “45.”
Friday and Sunday night’s shows on Pier 26 were much larger in scale, drawing a crowd many times the size of Irving Plaza’s. Friday night saw fellow NJ-natives The Bouncing Souls open up while the Gaslight guys watched from the VIP section stageside, singing along with their heroes. Sunday night, the Hold Steady entertained the crowd as they got soaked by the rainstorm that hovered above well into Gaslight Anthem’s set.
As it has been reported elsewhere already, there was indeed a moment of awkwardness during The Gaslight Anthem’s encore on Sunday night, wherein Fallon attempted another crowd singalong that unfortunately fell flat due to lack of crowd participation and an overwhelming push for a Bruce singalong that Fallon was not in the mood for. But that was just a brief, 2-minute misunderstanding out of a 90 minute set that was otherwise wonderful. Though the crowd cringed at the few flashes of lightning and were progressively getting drenched slowly but surely until the rain stopped, they danced and fist-pumped their way through Gaslight rockers like “Great Expectations”, “The ’59 Sound”, “We Came To Dance”, “Howl” and the rarely played “Old Haunts” and “Halloween”. The night ended with a smashing cover of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” as the crowd headed off into the summer night.
View my photos from Pier 26/Night 1 here and The Red Bull Sound Select show here.
You can follow me on Twitter at @ConcertExaminer!